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Wednesday, 22 of September of 2021

Tag » Game of Thrones

Podcast 15: We All Blame the Summer

“Nothing’s going to get that taste out of my mouth.”

Aw, yeah. It’s the summer and, here it is: a podcast slightly transformed. Just a bit of break from the norm — in that Matt couldn’t make it so we’re a beast short. Karen, Nick, and Noel make do, though, by giving some serious discussion to the all set-up Game of Thrones season finale and the much ballyhooed ender to The Killing while tossing around some Lost references in Matt’s honor. Then we look at some summer programming and shrug our shoulders at it because it’s summer and we’re not supposed to take summer programming seriously. Right? That’s why television’s the way it is right now. Right? Riiiiight. So just sit back and unwind.

Here’s the blog post we mention a couple of times from @ErikaJL simply titled “Sansa.”

Running time: 77 minutes

  • Game of Thrones season finale: 0:01:24
  • The Killing season finale: 0:30:50
  • Wilfred: 0:42:10
  • Louie: 0:48:03
  • Suits: 0:54:30
  • Walking Skies Falling Skies: 1:00:01
  • Love Bites: 1:05:29
  • The Voice: 1:11:40

Game of Thrones – “Fire and Blood”

I’ll not sit meekly by and wait for the snows.”

Robb hitting a tree as Catelyn approaches

That tree never did anything to you, Robb.

This was pretty standard for a season finale. Admittedly, the season reached a climax at the end of last week so it’s only to be expected that the finale essentially ties up its one big loose end (Daenerys) and then spends the rest of the episode putting the pieces where they need to be when the next season starts. It’s essentially season 2, episode 00.

And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Indeed, this first season really feels more like prologue to whatever is to come after, and probably should be treated as such. But it’s not very good, even as a prologue. The first half failed  to make connections between sexposition sequences and the larger narrative world, leaving me feeling talked at and without a sense of what was at stake here. The second half tried to pay off some of that, and while I enjoyed the last five hours more then the first five, I didn’t know why I needed to care who was on the Iron Throne.

And I still don’t. Read more »

Game of Thrones – “Baelor”

Love is the death of duty.

Shae, Bronn, and Tyrion

This was just like my first night of college. No, really. It was.

Last week, Noel Murray at the TV Club wrote an essay entitled “When spoilers help: The Game of Thrones defense.” (There are no spoilers in the essay, so you can click in safety.) Murray took an opposite approach from me when he settled in for Game of Thrones: he looked up stuff, consulted viewers’ guides, and felt it better equipped him to enjoy the series.

And when I say that he took the opposite approach from me, I mean it. I avoided any and all information about the series. I knew about the casting, sure, but I didn’t know anything about Westeros or what a Dothraki was, or how to spell Targareny Tagareynen Targaryen. I went in completely and utterly cold to a series, which is something of an abnormality for me. I like to do research because I do like to know if a series is worth 4 to 6 hours of my time (the minimum range I give hour-long dramas to grab me), even more so if I’m going to write about the damn thing.

(For what it’s worth, I part of me wish I had done what Murray had done, but I don’t think it would’ve helped many of my problems with the series.)

I’m not a complete spoilerphobe, though I’ve certainly come a long way from where I used to be. I used to purposefully spoil myself about Lost, but stopped after I thought I had figured out the twist in the season 3 finale, and then used spoilers to confirm (I was correct, by the way). After that experience, I stopped visiting SpoilerFix or frequenting sites that prided themselves on such scoops.

In the process of learning how to spell Targaryen, I spoiled myself in minor ways. For instance, I knew about the coup in advance while I looked up bits about Syrio, and was able to draw theories about what would instigate it (I was correct about the death, though not about the boar). Otherwise, I went to incredible lengths to avoid plot points about Game of Thrones.

Thanks to Twitter, I was able to avoid looking at information about ABC’s upfronts, as they provided a big old spoiler for a currently running cable program. Given that the only cable program running at the time where spoilers would matter was this one, I stayed away from stuff about the upfronts.

But then I stupidly read something on ABC’s Web site for its fall shows (I didn’t know which show had the spoiler in the press release/description/cast), and was spoiled for this episode. Read more »

Game of Thrones – “The Pointy End”

I know he must be punished, but all I ask is mercy.”

Ned in the dark

"The madness of mercy."

Have I mentioned how exhausting I find this show? Not recently? Well, it’s exhausting.

This week my exhaustion stems from the fact that this episode throws the show’s normal narrative pacing to the wind and packs in what was about a month, month and a half worth of in-story events into a single episode. Never have ravens flown faster or people covered more ground than in this episode. And since the episode doesn’t make clear how much time is passing, the episode feels like all of this is happening in a matter of days instead of weeks.

Certainly there’s value to this compression of the narrative as it ratchets up the tension and suspense in a show where both have been largely absent (a sense of gloom and doom (“Winter is coming.”) does not equal tension or suspense) as we move into the final hours of the season, but in a show that relishes expository talk, would it have killed someone to say “It took us a month to get here!” or “Ned’s been in a cell for weeks!”?

Such dialog does not even require the use of women having sex with another! …Or is that why it wasn’t included? Read more »

Game of Thrones – “You Win or You Die”

We stand behind you, Lord Stark.

Ned Stark

He of the squinty eyes, very fine beard, and the stupidly noble and honorable heart.

Before I start in on the episode (and I did like it, so breathe easy), we need to talk about that little scene with Ros, the other whore, and Carcetti. For the run of this series so far, and now perhaps reaching the pinnacle of it, Game of Thrones has made sex boring.

Now, and forever, I will only associate sex with Aidan Gillen talking about the lost, unrequited love of Catelyn Stark (those Stark women, be they by blood or by marriage, linger don’t they?). Or Harry Lloyd talking about dragons.

So thank you, Game of Thrones. You’ve been the best form of birth control anyone could ask for. Well done, and kudos to you.

And now to the episode. Read more »

Game of Thrones – “A Golden Crown”

Who can rule without wealth or fear or love?

Arya and Syrio

Sure. I could've picked something else. But why would I?

Hey, so I liked this episode.

I mean, I still had problems with the episode, but at least the boulder of exposition has been pushed down the hill and will begin to pick up speed.

I hope. I don’t know if I could tolerate the show suddenly falling back into exposition mode with only fours of story left for the season. That would totally kill all the really nice momentum this episode kicked up, and that would make me very cross.

Read more »

Game of Thrones – “The Wolf and the Lion”

But who holds the straws?

Arya and the cat

Why wasn't the episode about this?!

This show is exhausting, and I don’t really mean that in a positive way. There can be positively exhausting shows, shows that leave you wiped out but eager for more. Game of Thrones, increasingly, just leaves me tired after I finish an episode.

It’s a frustrating thing since they only have 10 episodes to compact a lot of story into. And that leads to plots and characters just kind of piling up, going to and fro, never settling down anywhere. Yet I feel increasingly claustrophobic watching the show (it’s a small favor that Viserys and Daenerys as well as Jon at the Wall aren’t in this episode to compound the problem) despite the fact that people keep moving around a lot.

Perhaps, like Robert, I’ve already grown tired of the backstabbing and the scheming. But like the Seven Kingdoms, it seems that backstabbing and scheming are all that’s holding the show together. I understand that’s it’s building to something (A Lannister coup, yes? Is winter still coming? No one’s mentioned it for a while.), but I just wish that they’d get on with it already. Read more »

Podcast 14: “FOX Hurts Nick’s Feelings”

“I bet that was the first time Human Target has ever trended on Twitter … those seven people were really upset about it.”

Where’s podcast 13, you ask? Well, think of it like how buildings don’t have thirteenth floors because it’s bad luck. That should distract you from the real reason: Nick got lazy and didn’t cut the last recording. When the Monsters of Television album drops, I’ll make Podcast 13 (and all the others resigned to a similar fate) the secret track for you.

Another secret track on that album? Some of the stuff that was left on the cutting room floor for this podcast. So much to talk about and so little time to do it in. FOX hacked its schedule to shreds this week, canceling just about everything, even putting House on notice for a final season. We stare down the barrel of the upfronts and tell you about what we’ll miss, what we’re looking forward to, and what we’re already cringing about. We also talk a lot of television from the past week, mostly the usual suspects. So go ahead and indulge yourself with this week’s podcast. Learn something. And try to forget about ol’ scary number thirteen.

Running time: 72 minutes

  • FOX Bloodbath
    • Chicago Code: 0:00:22
    • Breaking In:0:04:33
  • Chuck: 0:10:02
  • Wonder Woman: 0:11:42
  • Charlie’s Angels: 0:12:58
  • FOX Bloodbath – Sepinwall Post: 0:15:24
  • NBC PIckups: 0:17:32
  • Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea: 0:18:19
  • Ashton Kutcher and Two and a Half Men: 0:19:15
  • S#*! My Dad Says Cancelled: 0:22:10
  • ABC Pickups: 0:22:28
  • Damon Wayans, Jr and Happy Endings: 0:26:11
  • CW Renewals: 0:27:49
  • Smallville: 0:28:15
  • Ringer: 0:31:06
  • Gossip Girl: 0:33:25
  • Game of Thrones: 0:40:20
  • The Office: 0:53:40
  • Community: 0:55:41
  • This Week’s Finales: 1:08:10

Game of Thrones – “Lord Snow”

A king should have scars.”

Ned and Arya

I'm in this show for this relationship, and this relationship only.

So this is better. It’s still not totally engaging, but there are signs of improvement as “Lord Snow” allows the series to take a breath, slow down, and, most importantly, begin to fill in some gaps about the mythology that pervades these characters, mythology about the winter.

Not all of these breaths are worthwhile (Robert swapping first kill stories is the stand out example of this), but, on the whole, the episode held my attention far more than the previous episodes have. A big part of this is that I’ve managed to identify stories and characters I’m interested in beyond the adorably fierce Arya (seriously, how great is this character?), which was needed since one character does not an engaging show make. Read more »

Game of Thrones – “The Kingsroad” (Noel)

The wolf is of the north. She deserves better than a butcher.”

Now that the hype has settled down a bit (and I admit that I was a victim of hype-backlash, despite my careful avoidance of sustained looks at the show beyond 140 characters), I think we can start working through the episode without the crushing weight of expectations bearing down on us. At least I hope so.

“The Kingsroad” is better than the pilot episode, but still has some problems to work through, though you’ll be happy to know that my problems are less with characters (though those still float about) and the narrative world than it is with just really horrible uses of elliptical editing that make the episode an unnecessary puzzle to piece together.

But the most important lesson I took from the episode? Don’t mess with the Stark children. Their direwolves will mess you up.

Read more »